Court Orders Change in Custody Due To Mother Interfering With Father’s Visitation

custody and visitation attorney on Long IslandThere was litigation in the Family Court between a father and a mother. The father alleged the mother had acted in an obstreperous manner, had interfered with his visitation with the parties’ children in violation of court orders and had created a situation which made it extremely difficult for the father to have visitation. The father claimed the mother’s disruptive, antagonistic behavior was not in the children’s best interest and was having a negative impact on the parties’ child.

A trial was held in the Family Court. The mother had declined to have an attorney and had represented herself during these proceedings. At the end of the Family Court trial, the Family Court Judge found there had been a change in circumstances to the extent a change in custody was warranted due to mother’s interference with father’s visitation rights. The mother appealed this proceeding.

Appellate Court Decision

The Appellate Division for the Third Department (an appeals court) upheld the Family Court’s order finding the mother in contempt and changing custody to the father. The Appeals Court found the mother had violated a prior court order with regard to the father’s visitation rights. The court also found the transfer of sole custody of the child to the father was indicated in the circumstances due to the mother’s contentious behavior. The Court found the mother was aware of the terms of the Family Court order giving the father visitation and she intentionally refused to comply with this court order.

The mother had argued she was denied her right to counsel due to the fact she represented herself. However, the appellate court found she was given the opportunity to retain an attorney and declined to do so. The court also found the mother had engaged in obstructionist behavior during the course of the Family Court trial and her responses to questions were evasive.

The appellate court affirmed the decision of the Family Court giving the father sole custody.


This is a major victory for father’s rights! A mother’s obligations when she is the residential custodial parent is to promote a loving, warm relationship between the children and the father. Interference with a father’s visitation rights is appropriate grounds to change custody from the mother to the father.father's rights advocate and custody modification attorney

About Elliot S. Schlissel

Elliot S. Schlissel, Esq. has spent more that 45 years representing individuals in matrimonial and family law cases.